NEARLY 400 children failed to get in to their first choice school — but the number of young people being offered their top choice has gone up.

Parents started finding out on Saturday which secondary school their child had been allocated.

There was a rise in the number of children applying for places at schools in Bolton, by 83 to 3,486.

Town Hall chiefs said they were pleased the majority of children had got a place at their chosen school and added that they expected the figures to increase further as the appeals process gets under way.

Figures released by Bolton Council show that 97.8 per cent of children were allocated one of their three choices, with 88.6 per cent (3,089) given a place at their first choice; seven per cent (244) at their second choice and 2.2 per cent (76) at their third.

There were 2.2 per cent (77) who did not get a place at any of the three schools listed on the application form.

Last year, 87 per cent of children were given a place at their first choice, with 97 per cent receiving one of their shortlisted schools.

A Bolton Council spokesman said: “There were 3,486 applications for places at Bolton schools in September, 2013, and we are pleased that more than 88 per cent of children have been offered a place at their first choice of school, with 98 per cent being offered one of their top three choices.

“The percentage of Bolton parents securing a place for their children in their first preference school is very similar to last year, but we do expect that this will increase between now and the start of term due to the appeals process.

“There is a wide choice of schools in the borough offering high standards of teaching and education.

“Bolton’s schools achieve GCSE results above the national average and an increasing number are being judged as good or outstanding by Ofsted.”